REPORT: Portsmouth 0 Stevenage 0

Luke Freeman

Luke Freeman - Credit: Archant

Boro’s recovery continues as Pompey draw extends unbeaten run to three games

Portsmouth 0

Stevenage 0

Npower League 1

Stevenage made it three games unbeaten with this draw on the south coast, their first goalless match of the season.

Boro had perhaps the two best chances of the game – Filipe Morais heading wide and Marcus Haber heading on to the crossbar with the last touch of the game – but there was a consensus afterwards that a point each was probably a fair result.

For Stevenage it means they are now mathematically safe from relegation, while points-wise they move to within four of Phil Wallace’s target of 58 for the campaign.

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It also sees Boro keep consecutive clean sheets following Monday’s win over Hartlepool United, the first time the club has gone two games without conceding since the first week of the League 1 season.

Graham Westley made two changes from the win over Hartlepool with Filipe Morais starting in place of Marcus Haber just off Dani Lopez up front while in midfield Anthony Grant was brought in for the injured Robin Shroot.

There were early chances for both sides, Lopez seeing his effort blocked while at the other end, after a step over from David Connolly, Liam Walker put a shot wide of goal.

The game began evenly with both teams having spells of possession without necessarily troubling the goalkeepers until teenager Jed Wallace fired a free-kick straight at Steve Arnold on 25 minutes.

Morais did have the ball in the back of the net five minutes later but he had ran into an offside position following a decent burst forwards through the middle by Luke Freeman.

Some nice interplay at the start of the second half saw David Gray get into the box down the right. Morais had played a one-two with the full-back, who hurdled a would-be tackler only to put his cross straight into the arms of Simon Eastwood.

Boro made a change with Haber replacing Lopez just before the hour, but the next chance went Portsmouth’s way when Wallace, a fine prospect, hit a ball across goal only for none of his teammates to make the effort to touch it home.

With 15 minutes to go, Morais had a wonderful chance to put his side ahead. Freeman sent in a cross from the left and the front man beat his marker to head goalwards only for his effort to bounce just wide of the far post.

Minutes later both teams came together in a pushing match after Grant had tangled with a Portsmouth player before going down following a coming together of heads with Yassin Moutaouakil. Both players were booked, though afterwards both managers suggested that a red card for the Pompey man may have been warranted.

Within minutes both Grant and Moutaouakil were substituted in attempt to diffuse the situation.

Boro almost got lucky when Adam Webster, on for Moutaouakil, hit a clearance onto James Dunne and it flew just over the Portsmouth crossbar, before at the Stevenage end Webster directed a flying header towards goal only for Steve Arnold to pluck it out of the air.

There was then another chance for Boro in what turned out to be the final move of the game, but Haber was unable to convert it.

Freeman, a menace all afternoon, delivered a cross for the Canadian but although he got enough on the ball his looping header crashed on to the top of the crossbar and bounced over before the full-time whistle blew.

Portsmouth: Eastwood 6, Cooper 6, Moutaouakil 6 (Webster 79), Rocha 6, Gyepes 6, Ertl 5, Walker 5 (Maloney 65, 5), Wallace 8, Akinde 6 (Harris 65, 6), Racon 7, Connolly 7. Subs: Smith, Sodje, Awford, Butler.

Stevenage: Arnold 6, Gray 6, Ehmer 6, Roberts 6, N’Gala 7, Akins 5, Freeman 8, Grant 6 (Mahon 81), Dunne 8, Morais 7 (Comminges 85), Lopez 5 (Haber 57, 6). Subs: Day, Hills, Smith, Deacon.

Att: 12,036 (531)

Ref: Sarginson